--2 Morning Word: Easley replacement expected by end of week
Sept. 23, 2017
State House District 50 touches four counties and has a population of 29,000, making it politically and geographically diverse.
Infographic by Lisa Pelletier

Morning Word: Easley replacement expected by end of week

ABQ abortion ban vote and more NM news...

October 30, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • Santa Fe County made their selection for a replacement for the late Rep. Stephen Easley who passed away earlier this year. Gov. Susana Martinez will have the final say -- and Steve Terrell reports a spokesman for Martinez said a decision will come by Friday.
  • A group that opposes a 20-week abortion ban has a TV ad up on the issue ahead of the Albuquerque vote on the issue three weeks away.
  • KRQE covers the latest from each side.
  • Take THAT, Sunland Park.

    A mayoral candidate says a Craigslist ad of his campaign manager in his underwear soliciting sex (or at least purportedly soliciting sex) is an attempt at political sabotage.
  • Oh, it gets better. There is a conspiracy theory surrounding the posting of the Craigslist ad.
    A person who calls himself Sean Gallegos and "a concerned Santa Fe resident" in a email writes to SFR that Sandoval was "lying" when Sandoval denied posting the photo on Craigslist that was accompanied by an ad soliciting sex. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Sandoval said he and his ex-boyfriend took the photograph "about two years ago and posted it on Facebook to show their progress with a new exercise routine."
  • Thom Cole of the Albuquerque Journal says New Mexico Competes has close ties to the state Republican Party and Susana Martinez.
    The president of New Mexico Competes is former Republican state Sen. Duncan Scott, an Albuquerque lawyer who served on a Martinez transition team after her election in 2010.

    The secretary and treasurer is Albuquerque lawyer and lobbyist Pat Rogers, a member of the Republican National Committee.
  • Milan Simonich writes about the "messes" of Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, as head of the Senate Rules Committee and how she handles confirmation hearings.
    She says the process has been thorough, but Lopez is full of excuses about why Skandera's hearing has taken so long. Lopez got sick in 2011 and missed the final part of a 60-day legislative session. Lopez's mother fell ill in 2012, when the Legislature had a 30-day session. Lopez's inquiry of Skandera in 2013 still has unanswered questions.

    But even those with bad memories know that Lopez's explanation is hollow.
  • Steve Terrell notes Lopez's announcement that Skandera will get a vote had a shot at Attorney General Gary King. King, like Lopez, is running for the Democratic nomination for governor.
  • Colleges and universities around the state agree that a new funding formula is needed.
    The model would encourage legislators to fund colleges and universities based on the previous year's allocations while also providing incentive, performance-based funding that rewards different types of schools for meeting their different missions.

    Multiple university presidents said all two- and four-year schools in the state have endorsed the proposal.
  • New Mexico Compass reports on the continued pushback on teacher evaluations.
    A fifth-grade teacher and education veteran described the changing landscape of her job during the past several years as overwhelming. She said that kids in her class read at levels that range from second- to eighth-grade. Also in the mix are English-language learners and special education program participants. Some of her students with identified special needs are pulled out of the regular classroom for individualized instruction every week. Still, she said, her school runs on a bare-bones staff.

    “It’s ultimately up to one teacher in each classroom to figure out how to manage all the learning levels and help each of them make 6 percent gains in reading. As much support as I can give them, it’s never enough. I’m only one person. Trying to reach everyone and provide an individualized service for each kid is nearly impossible. Now, if I had 10 less kids in the room … ” she laughed. Meaningful reforms, she said, would decrease class sizes and place specialists in every room, offset teachers’ purchases of school supplies and create consistent interventions for kids kids struggling with reading and math.
  • John Garcia, the director of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department, is leaving the city position to head up the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico.
    Garcia officially starts in the new position Dec. 1. He said he informed Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry of his interest in the position after the October election, and said the city will seek a candidate to replace him.

    “This is an opportunity for me. It’s hard to leave [Mayor] R.J. [Berry], he is a good personal friend of mine,” he said.
  • The Albuquerque Journal looks at the latest in the Bernalillo County investment troubles and how the Bernalillo County Commission hopes to avert future troubles.
  • Some small businesses are on the fence over whether or not to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Affordable Care Act will cost the city of Albuquerque extra money, Albuquerque Business First reports.
    The Affordable Care Act will cost the city of Albuquerque an additional $875,000 in health care costs for the remainder of the fiscal year, and that will double to an extra $1.75 million for the following fiscal year, city budget officer Gerald Romero said.
  • At least 63,900 New Mexicans will have to change their health care due to the Affordable Care Act, Capitol Report New Mexico reports.
  • I missed this yesterday, but the Alibi spoke to Pulitzer Prize winning author David Shipler.
  • V.B. Price at New Mexico Mercury says nurses and teachers deserve more respect.
    But this is what we’ve come to in this country. We’re so mean spirited and our values are so twisted by Republican propaganda that some of us are hoodwinked into thinking that education works like a sweat shop, and that health care is a matter of costly miracle interventions rather than devoted, consistent attention by professionals who put their compassion and expertise on the line every day. It’s the same basic philosophy that sees wanton luxury for the chosen few and crippling austerity for all the rest of us as an honorable form of social justice.

    What a mess we’re in. Republicans see children and the rest of us as ciphers to manipulate into passing test scores and accepting low wage work while, it’s sad to say, many Democrats have forgotten their heritage of opposition to such ideas, and can’t remember what it means to throw a knockout punch.
  • Sen. Tom Udall is hoping to stop cuts to the food stamp program.
  • DINE Care, an environmental group that opposes the proposed Navajo Nation purchase of a coal mine, said the group is not suing the tribal government of the company that runs the mine. Shiprock Chapter president Duane "Chili" Yazzie said the group was in a previous story.
  • Meanwhile, the Shiprock Chapter is concerned about language that would waive all liabilities for BHP Billiton as part of the Navajo Nation purchase of the coal mine.
    "The Shiprock Chapter membership believe that it is unconscionable to absolve BHP Mines of all historical, present and all future liabilities related to the BHP Navajo Mine in perpetuity," the resolution states.

    No action was taken on the proposed resolution because designated chapter members were going to meet with BHP Billiton officials this week to discuss the issues and concerns, Yazzie said on Monday.
  • Tucumcari city councilors voted to have signatures on recall petitions validated. They think there are some discrepancies on the petitions.
  • The Winrock Tax Increment Development District could lose millions because the numbers they were used to make assumptions were wrong, the Mid-Heights Messenger reports.
  • Steve Pearce, following the end of the government shutdown, practiced avocado diplomacy. Avocadiplomacy?
    "It's part of the whole idea of how are we going to start to work together, and started about two weeks ago," the Republican from New Mexico said during a visit with the editor of the Ruidoso News last week. "I bought 36 avocados and made guacamole salad and bought 250 taquitos. Our office is down a hallway with about 10 other offices on the backside of the Sam Rayburn Building. We invited all 10, five Democrats and five Republicans and their staffs and they all showed up. We cleaned (the food) out. "There's been more buzz back and forth through the offices that (previously) did not even talk. I've been there three years and never talked to them before. It was our small way of saying we're all human beings and all have our way (to serve) your constituents and me mine, but let's meet at least once a quarter."
    But more importantly:
    Pearce also is working with a Democrat on an immigration bill that should be released this week.

    "It's a small bite of the apple, not an amnesty plan, but somewhere in the middle. I don't care if other Republicans don't like what you say, that's the language we should be talking," he said.
  • The LA Times looks at the controversial issue of the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves into the Southwest and the hatred that many conservatives in the area have for the animals.
    Anti-wolf campaigns here — paid for by conservative political organizations antagonistic toward the federal government — often portray the animal as a savage devil preying on children.

    The antipathy has encouraged scores of illegal killings of Mexican wolves, whose population dwindled to seven before federal efforts to reintroduce them began in 1998. A young male wolf was fatally shot with an arrow a few weeks ago in the same rural Catron County that uses the kid cages.
  • Alamogordo mayor Susie Galea says a new ordinance that would require the mayor to ask the council for approval of out-of-state travel is a bad idea.
    "A future mayor may not want to add thousands of miles on their car for official travel," she said. "There have been instances when state or federal delegations request a meeting with me regarding Alamogordo with little notice that wouldn't be sufficient in time to wait upon a future Commission meeting for approval."
  • A pipe burst in the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Building at Los Alamos National Labs luckily was not filled with hazardous or radioactive material.
  • A Farmington city councilor who is not up for reelection, but may be running for mayor, commissioned a 15-question city-wide survey.
  • President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for 15 counties in New Mexico for the damage created by storms in September.
  • A land developer who opposes the Ute Water Project in eastern New Mexico dismisses criticism of him as just politics and says he's defending taxpayers.
  • An interesting project related to climate change: Los Alamos National Labs is part of a methane-sensing test.
    Methane is one of many gases whose presence in the atmosphere contributes to global climate change, according to a news release issued by the lab. This summer, researchers experimented with measuring methane levels from gases that were released at different rates using three airborne instruments on separate aircraft, a small, unmanned aerial system and an array of ground sensors. The goal is to understand the sensitivity and accuracy at measuring methane for airborne sensors.

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